STARTING SOLID FOODS WITH BABIES
When should I start feeding my baby solid foods?
Most doctors recommend that parents start feeding their baby solid foods at about 4 to 6 months old.
How can I tell if my baby is ready for solid foods?
Babies are usually ready to start eating solid foods when they:
- Can sit up with help
- Have good control of their head and neck
- Put toys or hands in their mouth
- Show an interest in food by leaning forward and opening their mouth when it’s time to eat
Which food should I start with?
Start with a food that has only 1 ingredient and is mashed up well. Most parents start with baby cereal, fruits, vegetables, or meats.
You can mix baby cereal with breast milk, formula, or water. Make the mixture thin at first, and use a spoon to feed it to your baby. Doctors do not usually recommend putting baby cereal in a baby’s bottle.
When you start feeding your baby solid foods, give your baby 1 new food every few days. That way, you can make sure that your baby doesn’t have an allergy to that food. After a few days, you can try another food.
How do I know if my baby has an allergy to a food?
Your baby might have an allergy to a food if he or she eats it and then has 1 or more of the following symptoms:
- Skin rash or raised, red patches of skin that are usually very itchy (called hives)
- Swollen lips or face
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Coughing or trouble breathing
- Pale skin
Call your doctor or nurse if your child has any of these symptoms.
Can I use baby food from a jar?
Yes, but be sure to follow the instructions about how long the food keeps after the jar is opened. Baby food usually keeps for 2 to 3 days after a jar is opened. If a jar has been opened for more than 3 days, you should throw it out.
Can I make my own baby food?
Yes, but don’t add salt or sugar to it. Babies don’t need extra salt or sugar in their food.
Which foods should I give my baby next?
After you give your baby different foods with only 1 ingredient, move on to foods with 2 or more ingredients. Over time, you can give your baby foods that are thicker and have small chunks in them. That way, your baby can get used to different foods and learn to chew pieces of food.
Are there foods that babies should not eat or drink?
Yes. Babies younger than 1 year old should not drink cow’s milk or eat honey.
Doctors also recommend that children younger than 4 years old not eat certain foods that commonly cause choking. These foods include:
- Hot dogs
- Peanuts and other nuts
- Raw carrots
- Hard candies
Can I give my baby juice?
You can give your baby juice in a cup at about 6 months old. But do not give your child more than 120 to 240 milliliters of juice a day. Drinking more than that can lead to diarrhea, cavities, and other problems.
Does my child need vitamins?
Doctors recommend that all babies who breastfeed get daily vitamin D drops starting when they are a few days old. Vitamin D helps bones grow strong. Babies who drink formula might also need vitamin D drops, depending on how much formula they drink each day.
Some babies need other vitamins each day, depending on what they eat and other factors. Ask your doctor or nurse if your baby should take vitamins and which ones he or she needs.
When can babies feed themselves?
Babies can usually start picking up pieces of food to feed themselves at about 8 to 10 months old.